Net migration eases back towards 2015 level – Media release
21 September 2018
Annual net migration was down 8,800 (to 63,300) in the August 2018 year when compared with the August 2017 year, Stats
NZ said today.
This is the lowest August year since 2015. Net migration is continuing to ease from the record high of 72,400 in the
year ended July 2017.
Migrant arrivals were 129,100 and migrant departures were 65,800 for the latest year.
“The number of migrant arrivals in August was only slightly lower than in August 2017, so it was the increase in the
number of departures that led to the fall in net migration.” population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said.
“This is consistent with what we’ve seen in previous months, with the fall in net migration being driven more by
increases in migrant departures than decreases in migrant arrivals.”
Migrant departures to Australia still historically low
Migrant departures for New Zealand citizens were up 600 for the year ended August 2018, to 34,200. Of these, 20,900 were
This increase in departures was accompanied by a fall in the number of citizens returning to New Zealand from Australia,
which led to a net outflow of 1,200 migrants.
“New Zealand’s net migration with Australia is typically negative so dropping below zero is not unusual.” Mrs Theyers
“Historically, New Zealand citizen departures have been much higher. For example, in 2012 there were 48,700 New Zealand
citizens who departed to Australia, which led to a net migrant loss of 40,000.”
Both 2016 and 2017 had small positive net migration gains with Australia, due to low numbers of New Zealand citizen
departures and record numbers of New Zealand citizens arriving (expats returning home).
Departure cards taking flight
From November 2018, travellers leaving New Zealand will no longer need to complete a passenger departure card. This
change means the outcomes-based measure of migration, first released in May 2017, will be fully adopted.
To maintain timely statistics, Stats NZ is developing provisional migration estimates; early results were published in
August 2018. More information on the statistical model to produce provisional estimates will be published in early